10 Stars Who Would Turn 100 in 2020
Welcome to the Twenties! Luckily, we don’t have Prohibition to deal with this time, but other things haven’t changed much since our forebearers ushered in the 1920s a hundred years ago. The year 1920 saw widespread alarm about Russia and Russian agents, historic shifts in European alliances and balances of power, and passionate discourse about the role of women in politics and society. Sound familiar?
As in Januarys past, Flickchart takes the occasion of a new year to celebrate 10 stars of cinema who would have marked their 100th birthdays this year. None of this year’s honorees are still with us, but thanks to the immortality of the screen, we can still enjoy their work a century after their births. Check out their top Flickchart titles below each name.
Our first entry is a two-for-one. Authors Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury are primarily remembered for their contributions to literature, not movies, but their outlandish stories continue to inspire filmmakers today, and the landscape of cinema would be very different without them. Asimov was born on January 2 of 1920, and Bradbury on August 22. Asimov’s “positronic” concept of the “three laws of robotics” has influenced the entire science fiction genre, and his stories have been adapted into the movies I, Robot and Bicentennial Man. Bradbury wrote in a variety of genres, showing a particular flair for dystopia in his seminal Fahrenheit 451. He also wrote screenplays and teleplays, including for The Twilight Zone TV show and the Saturn Award-winning Something Wicked This Way Comes. Asimov died in 1992 and Bradbury in 2012.
Flickchart’s top 5 films based on Asimov or Bradbury works:
- Fahrenheit 451 (global rank: 1977)
- I, Robot (global rank: 2025
- Something Wicked This Way Comes (global rank: 2265)
- It Came From Outer Space (global rank: 4719)
- Bicentennial Man (global rank: 6532)
A Star Trek trio
Now it’s a three-for-one, with DeForest Kelley (January 20), James Doohan (March 3), and Ricardo Montalban (November 25) all reaching the 100-year milestone in 2020. Better known as Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, Lt. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, and Khan Noonien Singh, respectively, these three actors made unforgettable marks on American popular culture, science fiction, and the “space opera” style of storytelling. Kelley and Doohan were regulars on the 1960s Star Trek TV series and in the Trek movies of the 1980s, while Montalban provided one of the franchise’s most memorable guest roles as a superpowered nemesis of Captain Kirk. Kelley died in 1999, Doohan in 2005, and Montalban in 2009.
Flickchart’s top 5 original Star Trek movies:
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (global rank: 296)
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (global rank: 929)
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (global rank: 1437)
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (global rank: 588)
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture (global rank: 2176)
Federico Fellini, born January 20, 1920, has a place in any serious conversation about the greatest directors of all time. He told gritty, experimental, and ultimately transcendent stories not just about the Italian experience, but the human one, bridging the modes of neorealism and European new waves in a career that spanned six decades. He helped write the WWII films Rome, Open City and Paisan, directed by his compatriot Roberto Rossellini, and then found fame on his own as the director of award-winning movies La Strada, Nights of Cabiria, La Dolce Vita, 8 ½, and others that occupy prestigious places on many critical lists and on Flickchart’s global chart. Fellini died in 1993.
Flickchart’s Top 5 Federico Fellini films:
- 8 ½ (global rank: 90)
- La Dolce Vita (global rank: 113)
- Nights of Cabiria (global rank: 304)
- La Strada (global rank: 326)
- Amarcord (global rank: 483)
Toshiro Mifune, the ultimate cinematic samurai, was born in Japan-occupied China on April 1, 1920. After surviving World War II, he stumbled into an acting career while working in the studio’s camera department. He soon began working with director Akira Kurosawa, and the two redirected the course of cinema with movies like Rashomon, Seven Samurai, and Yojimbo. Mifune’s wild eyes, barking voice, untamed beard, and raw athletic talent brought new intensity and complexity to the archetypical samurai character, and the films he starred in inspired many imitators and remakes, from spaghetti westerns to the Star Wars saga. Mifune died in 1997.
Flickchart’s Top 5 Toshiro Mifune films:
- Seven Samurai (global rank: 19)
- Yojimbo (global rank: 38)
- High and Low (global rank: 39)
- Rashomon (global rank: 40)
- Throne of Blood (global rank: 109)
Born on June 17, 1920, Setsuko Hara is one of the indelible faces of the golden age of Japanese movies. She worked with Kurosawa twice, but she is most remembered for the thematic “Noriko trilogy” she made with director Yasujiro Ozu between 1949 and 1953. With her open face and ability to express subtle shades of emotion as well as extreme happiness or sadness, she reflected the pain and the hope of Japan’s wartime generation, and she was adept at depicting the sacrifices and ambitions of the nation’s women and youth. Tokyo Story, in which she plays a war widow, is regarded one of the most moving films of all time. Hara died in 2015.
Flickchart’s Top 5 Setsuko Hara films:
- Tokyo Story (global rank: 77)
- Late Spring (global rank: 352)
- Early Summer (global rank: 1886)
- Tokyo Twilight (global rank: 3686)
- Late Autumn (global rank: 3706)
Born on July 11, 1920 in the Russian Far East, Yul Brynner had a look that was at once unique and universal. With his perfectly bald head and intense, vaguely sinister stare, he was a good fit for powerful “foreign” roles like King Mongkut in The King and I and Pharaoh Ramesses II in The Ten Commandments. Yet he also fit naturally in the setting of the American West, playing cowboys both good and bad in The Magnificent Seven and the original Westworld. He was a handsome leading man in romances and a believable action hero in war pictures and chase movies. During his career Brynner won a Tony and an Oscar. He died in 1985.
Flickchart’s Top 5 Yul Brynner films:
- The Magnificent Seven (global rank: 220)
- The Ten Commandments (global rank: 1076)
- Westworld (global rank: 1319)
- The King and I (global rank: 1910)
- Anastasia (global rank: 4393)
One of the most successful child actors in history, Mickey Rooney, born September 23, 1920, started his movie career at age 6 and made his last appearance 90 years later with a couple of barely-posthumous releases. He had a clean-cut image that he honed alongside Judy Garland in numerous “let’s put on a show!”-style movies in Hollywood’s Golden Age, but his personal life was the subject of much gossip, especially his eight marriages. Rooney was a Bronze Star recipient in World War II and a two-time Academy Award honoree. He died in 2014.
Flickchart’s Top 5 Mickey Rooney films:
- Captains Courageous (global rank: 1803)
- The Fox and the Hound (global rank: 2363)
- The Black Stallion (global rank: 3540)
- Night at the Museum (global rank: 3651)
- Boys Town (global rank: 3771)
Walter Matthau, he of the mighty jowls, was born on October 1, 1920. His baritone, deadpan voice, heavy eyebrows, and wry scowl made him a natural as prickly, disgruntled characters, but it was often possible to detect a heart of gold beneath their gruff exteriors. Like many others on this list, including Doohan, Kelley, Mifune, and Rooney, Matthau served during WWII before embarking on an acting career. He was a three-time Oscar nominee, but his only win came in 1966, and for a movie that’s not particularly high on his Flickchart: The Fortune Cookie. Matthau died in 2000.
Flickchart’s Top 5 Walter Matthau films:
- Charade (global rank: 178)
- A Face in the Crowd (global rank: 381)
- The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (global rank: 428)
- Fail-Safe (global rank: 642)
- The Odd Couple (global rank: 738)
Among the most promising yet tragic figures of his generation, Montgomery Clift, born on October 17, 1920, had a career as brilliant as it was short. He was typecast as an angry, introverted, rebellious young man, much like James Dean, but his roles had less glamour than Dean’s or Brando’s or many others of that ilk. He appeared in heavy-hitting dramas like Red River, A Place in the Sun, From Here to Eternity, and Judgement at Nuremberg, and he excelled at playing characters with unusual psychological profiles. Clift died in 1966.
Flickchart’s Top 5 Montgomery Clift films:
- Red River (global rank: 359)
- From Here to Eternity (global rank: 533)
- A Place in the Sun (global rank: 555)
- The Misfits (global rank: 1393)
- The Heiress (global rank: 1453)
Gene Tierney, born November 19, 1920, was one of the best actresses of 1940s Hollywood. And it’s not just us saying it — Martin Scorsese has listed her as a favorite as well. She was composed and controlled, yet also relatable and sympathetic. She often seemed to be hiding a secret — perhaps this was a carryover from her real life, because her upper-class parents never wanted her to pursue a film career. Tierney played the central role in the eerie mystery Laura, which used her enigmatic quality to good effect. She shone in noirs and in movies with vaguely fantastical elements, like The Ghost and Mrs. Muir and Heaven Can Wait. Tierney died in 1991.
Flickchart’s Top 5 Gene Tierney films:
- Laura (global rank: 168)
- Night and the City (global rank: 992)
- The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (global rank: 1185)
- Leave Her to Heaven (global rank: 1444)
- Heaven Can Wait (global rank: 1504)